Open letter about Shabbat changes

An Open Letter from Hillel Student Board Shabbat Co-Chairs


Dear Students of Berkeley Hillel,

As the Hillel Student Board Shabbat co-chairs, we want to welcome you back to campus! We hope that summer treated you well and that you are looking forward to the start of a new school year!
As you may know, Berkeley Hillel has been undergoing some big changes in the past year, the most notable of which is the physical construction on our Hillel building. We are beyond excited for the
reopening of our new and improved building this Fall so that we can continue to do the important work of fostering Jewish community on Berkeley’s campus. These exciting changes to our building come with new opportunities as well, so we are writing to introduce another upcoming change: the transformation of the Shabbat experience at Berkeley Hillel.

We are so excited to introduce “Soul Hour,” a weekly opportunity to pick your practice and get your rest on. “Soul Hour” will take place every Friday night and will be held from 6:00-7: 00 pm before we gather for Shabbat dinner. “Soul Hour” will include a variety of offerings which will vary from week to week to allow each individual member of our community to decide how they wish to spend their Shabbat. With offerings such as yoga, meditation, art, Torah study, services, deep conversations, song circles, holiday activities and many more, you will have the opportunity to pick your own Shabbat practice based on your personal wants, needs, and interests.

But that’s not all! After feeding our souls, we will gather as a community to feed our bellies in a new and improved Shabbat dinner experience. Because our new building comes with a brand-new
kitchen, Shabbat dinner will also be transformed in order to offer new and even more delicious options. Craving a home-cooked style meal at the end of your busy week on campus? Hillel’s got you covered. As always, the Shabbat menu for any given week can be found in the newsletter (sign up for our newsletter

Our entire Shabbat experience is an open and inclusive environment; so, whether you’ve come to Shabbat at Hillel before, or are excited to come for the first time this semester, bring a friend or come without! We’re here to welcome you with open arms each Shabbat, and we even have an on-the-spot table invite program that ensures that everyone has a warm and welcoming place to sit for dinner. To help you keep track of all of these exciting changes, Hillel will release a Shabbat schedule at the beginning of each month outlining the offerings for the upcoming month. These monthly line-ups will allow you to plan ahead as you look forward to upcoming “Soul Hour” offerings, themed Shabbatot, and even fun new “oneg options” (new after-dinner activities)! Shabbat schedules will be found in the newsletter and will even be accessible via google calendar! The Shabbat schedule for this upcoming month can be found attached to this letter.

We couldn’t be more hopeful for the upcoming year, and are so excited for the many special Shabbatot that we look forward to spending together!

See you at Shabbat,

Rudy Brandt and Sophia Gaynes
Hillel Student Board Shabbat Co-chairs